Roundup of natural, liquid base products: Ilia, Nui, Sappho, Omorovicza, Guerlain

I’ve been playing with a variety of ‘natural’ products for a while, so it’s finally time to gather my thoughts about them!

I used quotes above because while this has become a huge selling point for products, I don’t believe that ‘natural’ products necessarily better. Case in point: products with coconut oil can wreak total havoc on skin – compared to tretinoin, which although synthetic, is a godsend. So it really depends… but that’s a rant for a different day. 🙂

The products I’ll be referring to are (in the order of how long I’ve had & used them):

I’ve gone for the lightest shade in each of these – although some come with options depending on your undertone, whereas others sadly do not. Textures and coverage also vary widely, so let’s briefly discuss each product:

1. Nui Natural Liquid Foundation

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Texture and coverage-wise, this is a medium. You can sheer it down with a brush or layer more on with fingers. I can’t really fault the formula of this one – it really is a beautiful foundation and my skin gets along really well with it, and stays comfortable throughout the day when I wear this.

There is, however, one issue: the lighest shade (Intense Kanapa) leans extremely pink, and contrasts badly with my yellow-toned neck. The next shade down is already darker, so that’s already not an option for me regardless of whatever undertone it may have. 😦 If you naturally have a pink undertone or can sample the other shades to see which way they lean (pink/yellow), then I have no hesitation to recommend this to you. Check it out!

2. Omorovicza Complexion Perfector

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a BB-cream sort of product. It is beautifully sheer, so the shade match can be quite forgiving. I have it in Fair and it is already quite dark/bronzy for me personally (it only comes in 4 shades overall). However, it is not super obvious and I feel I can more easily get away with this product, than the pink-toned Nui above.

I find it supremely light & comfortable (and dewy (!), but nowhere near as dewy as the Ilia – more on that below). It’s super easy to just dab on, in much the same way as you would a moisturizer – with maybe a setting powder lightly dusted on top. The finish stays luminous and genuinely so beautiful. If you lean towards a drier skin type and/or want something quick and easy, I think this would really work for you.

You can also always use a bit of concealer in any troublesome areas, so the sheerness shouldn’t really be seen as an insurmountable problem. I just love this one.

Here you can see the various textures and shades of all the products: Sappho Essential Foundation in Bryce, Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint in ST2 Tulum, Nui Natural Liquid Foundation in Intense Kanapa, Omorovicza Complexion Perfector in Fair, and Guerlain L’Essentiel in 00W. I’ve arranged them so each sample represents the product that is placed above.

3. Guerlain L’Essentiel Foundation

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another love. I think the 00W in this is the best shade match I’ve ever found in a foundation. It’s brilliant that Guerlain have constructed this range to come in 3 parallel versions: shades for a warm/yellow, cool/pink, and neutral undertone. (Nui, please follow suit if/when you can!)

In terms of the formula itself, my skin tolerates it really well and it lasts well throughout the day under a light setting powder (which I pretty much always use regardless of the base product underneath). It’s a light to medium (more towards medium) level of coverage.

One thing I’d point out is while this is totally non-drying, it is not super hydrating either. It kind of leaves your skin as it already is, without trying to sway it in either direction. So if you already have dry skin, you may want to ensure you use a good moisturizer underneath.

4. Sappho New Paradigm Essential Foundation

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Ok… this is the first one I have some doubts about. It most definitely isn’t a product I hate, but it is not easy to work with. It is sheer, yes, but in a way that’s completely different from the Omorovicza mentioned above. Here, there is alcohol involved – which, in this particular case, I wouldn’t say makes the product drying, but it does mean it sets really fast. So you run the risk of getting streaks you can’t blend away easily. And streaks with a sheer texture is just an odd combination. Also, this Sappho looks matte rather than dewy, which is another point of departure from the Omorovicza.

The shade Bryce is a hair too light for me, which in addition to the blazing fast setting, means I tend to use this product very rarely, and typically not on its own. Where it really shines for me though, is in combination with other products that are a bit too rich. Together, they usually form a perfectly balanced base layer. I guess the alcohol in this Sappho helps any richer formulas mixed in to settle a bit quicker and become more manageable.

Which brings me to the next and final product…

Here you can see the various shades and textures for all the products I’ve discussed. Right off the bat you can probably see that the two with the highest coverage are the Nui and the Guerlain. Sappho and Omorovicza share a similar level of coverage (which is light). Finally, the Ilia is the one that differs most from all the others. You can see how the oil-like texture has trouble settling on the skin initially – being the richest of the lot. But it turns out to be heavenly when mixed in with another product – the Sappho it is shown next to.

5. Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This came out recently and I was dead excited to try it, especially given it contains niacinamide – which I already knew really helps my skin. Supposedly, this formula is oil-free, yet for the purposes and subjective experience of makeup application, the texture is exactly like an oil… So this means you can’t layer it over and over, because it will quickly start to look like a shiny, oily mess.

This is also why the brand suggest to skip skincare underneath, claiming it is no longer necessary because of the skincare benefits already included in the Skin Tint. Sure, but above and beyond any discussion of whether or not other products are necessary, the reality is you can’t really use much underneath anyway, because of how rich this Skin Tint is… It simply won’t settle nicely on top of them. Speaking of that, if you are using anything like tret and your skin is peeling, beware… this won’t play nice with any dry skin flakes. It will cling to them and highlight any you didn’t even know you had.

I don’t want to be too harsh, as this product does have its uses. First of all, the formula does seem to be kind to the skin and any layering issues / flake coverage / oil-like sheen mostly get ironed out when a layer of powder is added on top. What is more… this is brilliant for adding into other foundations you might find too drying or dense. So because of this, I will gladly keep mine (plus the ST2 Tulum shade is perfect for me) and will indeed use it. In fact, mixing this with the Sappho discussed above = match made in heaven.

So bottom line… this can be a very hit and miss product. It really depends how you want to use it and what your skin texture is like. I wanted a simple product to throw on in these lockdown days, that I don’t need to finesse and that just works. Sadly, I didn’t find this to be the case here – but fortunately I have found other ways to use it and am still genuinely happy to have it in my collection because of that.

So, are you tempted by any of these base products? Or have you already tried any them and formed your own opinions? Let me know below!


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